financial services

What is customer-centric design, and why is it essential in financial services?

17 Jan, 2018
5 Min Read Dan Ward

What is customer-centric design, and why is it essential in financial services?


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The rise of digital banking has brought on enormous and rapid change for the financial services sector. Bank branches are closing down or reducing in size, with customers increasingly accessing services online at a time and place that suits them. Bank managers and customer service staff have less face-to-face interaction with their customer base as the popularity of self-service options grows.

The market itself is changing too, with non-traditional players like Google and Amazon entering the competitive financial services landscape. So what does this changing market really mean for banks? Simply, it comes down to today’s consumers knowing what they want and being willing to change their habits to ensure their needs are met in a way that’s convenient for them.

In this hyper-competitive business environment, banks that deeply understand, and effectively cater to their customers’ individual needs and preferences are set to gain a substantial advantage. Let’s take a closer look at customer-centric design and why it’s essential for banks today.

What is customer-centric design?

Personalisation, loyalty and innovation are key concepts in the world of customer-centric design. Companies that can rethink established operating models and industry paradigms, in favour of making the customer experience front and centre, are yielding the benefits of large, loyal and fast-growing customer bases. Examples like AirBNB, Uber and The Iconic show the huge potential that lies ahead for companies that succeed in putting the customer first.

Customer-centric design shifts the focus away from products and services. Instead, it zeros in on the lifestyles, behaviours and needs of individual customers. At RXP, we define customer-centric design as delivering products and experiences that clients love, with a consistent focus on quality and driving business outcomes.

Why is customer-centric design important?

It is critical not to misconstrue the consumer appetite for a convenient digital experience as a sign of disengagement from the products and services banks have to offer. Rather, it is an indicator that the way banks interact with their customers needs to change. So how can customer-centric design help?

1. Position banks as a trusted financial advisor

Banks have access to rich and extensive data about the behaviours, needs and lifestyles of their individual customers. A simple analysis of transaction history and patterns can reveal significant information about a customer’s attitudes, lifestyle and personal circumstances, whether it’s:

  • Buying a first home
  • Taking a holiday
  • Raising children

Importantly, banks can leverage this information to develop and pitch tailored products and services to directly meet the needs of its customers.

2. Improve responsiveness to customer feedback

There is no shortage of data available to banks about the preferences and desires of its customer base – not only in relation to existing products and services, but also for broader service delivery approaches. For example, customers have shown a strong attraction to a one-stop-shop approach, in which they can access a range of financial products and services from as few service providers as possible. This could include bundling a home loan with insurance products or a credit card with emergency travel assistance. Banks that can identify (or better yet, predict) shifts in consumer preferences and act on them promptly have a substantial opportunity to engage and retain customers, above and beyond their competitors.

3. Provide new opportunities to focus on the customer journey

unspMany banks today still follow a traditional model, in which the marketing and customer service departments are treated as separate business lines. Yet in the era of customer centricity, the evolving needs and behaviours of customers (from their first to their last interaction) must be at the heart of a company’s business model. This means ensuring that the strategies used to attract and engage a customer from the outset are closely aligned with the approach to customer support, facilitating a consistent and seamless experience over time.

Why RXP?

RXP uses design thinking and the latest UX techniques to determine the optimal customer experience based on the behaviours and needs demonstrated by our clients’ customers. We understand how design thinking can lead organisations to become more innovative and thrive in a fast-paced digital economy. Refer to our latest white paper, Digital Platform Trends 2017: Banking on a Digital Future, to find out more.

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